November 23, 2011
Hoshizaki America is a manufacturer of commercial ice makers, dispensers, refrigerators and related projects with facilities located in Peachtree City and Griffin, Ga.
The company had labored for a number of years to sustain a continuous improvement system. These earlier improvement efforts had focused on large projects using a team-based approach, which highlighted both the existence of activities that didn’t add value and the invisible walls between departments. For competitive reasons, the company felt the need for improvement was critical.
An in-house lean simulation training class was held for executives and other key personnel, helping the company map current and future value streams, identify improvement techniques, develop a lean strategy and plan application of specific lean techniques. Lean specialists from Georgia Tech’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) proposed a series of kaizen rapid improvement events that produced results so remarkable that the company established a Kaizen Promotion Office. Hoshizaki has leveraged their learning and experience to implement 5S (sorting, straightening, shining, standardizing and sustaining) in each manufacturing area and relentlessly pursue improvement in all facets of their business.
- Cost reduction of more than $7 million
- Productivity increases of 75 percent
- Kaizen Promotion Office established
- Increased employee engagement, with 2,700 ideas submitted last year
“The learning tours have been fantastic and the Georgia Tech training -- whether it’s a value stream mapping event or a lean boot camp -- has been very useful in helping our employees understand the tools and applications,” explained Jeff Tatum, Hoshizaki’s director of manufacturing improvements. “But there’s a lot of activity with [the Georgia Tech Lean] Consortium members that takes place outside of Georgia Tech. It’s turned into a natural support function for continuing to learn.”